Monday, August 23, 2010

Burnout Mode Engaged

After realizing that we had spare tires, all I could think about was doing donuts in the elEVen. Having never done a donut in the car, I decided to practice before hand. It looked more or less like this:

One difference is that I wore a helmet. As always, safety first.

In that same vein, we double checked all of the wiring and structural members to make sure that no short could occur, that all wheels would stay on the car, and that no oil would leak.

In our inspection, we found something wrong with the SCU. After 3 hours of debugging, we diagnosed the condition as dirty connectors between the motherboard and one of the cards. After cleaning the connectors, we fired up the SCU and sure enough the problem had been resolved.

We closed the SCU back up and soon we began the tedious process of remounting it back in the car.

The SCU was designed to fit into an electric school bus which has tons of space to mount components. Our Mercury Milan is a little more cramped making the mounting and unmounting process a more difficult. It is a three person job, with one person manning the hoist, another person making sure that nothing is in the way and the third under the car that aligns the SCU into its mounts.

Once every thing was back in, we went for a little drive up and down the street that our shop is on.

What follows are some pictures that we took before, during and after the first drive of this summer of the MIT EVT elEVen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

elEVen Status Update

The heat is rising in MIT's Electric Vehicle Team shop. After late nights of soldering, countless breaks for Monster, and hours of tedious coding, our Mercury Milan conversion - the elEVen - is nearly street ready. The elEVen conversion and rapid recharging were delayed due to a problem with the motor controller, as was discussed in Stephen’s earlier blog post. While that problem was being resolved, the team wasted no time in starting other projects to increase the safety, comfort, and robustness of the car. These projects - including the battery cooling system, the mount for the charger, the charging adapter, the motor controller wiring box, and all of the internal communications - have either been finished or are nearing their respective ends to where the whole car can be assembled. Once the car is put together we can begin working on rapid recharging, but until then, the engineers in us are eager to get the elEVen running and on the road.

Here is our status on each of the elEVen projects: